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Exciting negotiations as Linklaters look to South Africa

Posted by: Laurence Simons 31/07/12

Sometimes it's just straight up easier to waft around on a wave of other people's success rather than, from the ground up, establishing your own. Just look at Kelly Osborne.

Anyway, that's exactly what Magic Circle firm Linklaters is hoping to do, if reports are to be believed. And they are to be believed, they have quotes from Linklaters' top brass in them.

"If you're going to do something [in Africa], you do it on a bilateral basis," said an unnamed Linklaters partner. They are, of course, talking about ongoing negotiations between the firm and Johannesburg-based Webber Wentzel, as the businesses look to turn longstanding ties into a legitimate joint venture in South Africa. "We keep talking," said the Linklaters deep throat, speaking to The Lawyer. "I think there's still talks that go on between us and a whole load of firms."

Why all this talking? Well, since the dearly departed Dewey & LeBoeuf left a Johannesburg-based team sat there twiddling their local thumbs, a void had appeared in a burgeoning market that needs to be filled. And rather than starting from the ground up to establish a significant presence, Linklaters is hoping to 'do a Kelly' and dine out on a local firm's existing experience to hit the ground running. It's something they did last year with Australian firm Allens, and it could work again should negotiations go well.